Thursday, 3rd December 2015
Get off the beaten track in Vietnam
Vietnam has been an increasingly popular destination with tourists in recent years. It’s hardly surprising when you think of the stunning scenery, delicious food and kind hearted people. While there are some destinations that are definite must-visits, it’s also nice to escape the crowds and see areas of the country that are less well-known.
If this sounds like you then check out one, a few or all of these locations.
The impressive limestone pinnacles that have made Halong Bay so famous can also be seen at Ninh Binh, just without the water to raise up out of. Instead, the valley floor is awash with rice paddies in all the natural colours you can imagine. Snaking through this beautiful landscape is the Ngo Dong River, which provides the perfect transportation option – drifting along in a long boat.
While the beauty of Vietnam above ground is plain to see, do not miss the opportunity to go subterranean and see some of the country’s vast cave networks. Many of these can be encountered in the Phong Nha National Park, where the world’s biggest cave, Son Doong, was found in 2009. While largely inaccessible, there are plenty of others nearby that are just waiting to be explored.
Cat Tien National Park
For those who love the great outdoors and the idea of stumbling across wildlife, a visit to Cat Tien National Park is an absolute must. With 72,000 hectares of jungle, it is an incredible place and one that provides important habitat for a wide selection of creatures. Spend the days trekking and visiting some of the conservation projects that are doing wonderful work with gibbons and bears.
Spend a night in the simple but hospitable surroundings of a traditional stilt house in the town of Mai Chau. This will give you the chance to see the Black Thai and White Thai ethnic minorities up-close and see how their practices have remained throughout the centuries. Then pass the days hiking or cycling in the mountains surrounding the town. You’ll come across rice paddies and lakes of stunning beauty.
Time for some R&R on the beach and there’s one island that offers up plenty of unspoilt beaches – Phu Quoc. Think turquoise water, white sand and the background of the jungle and you’ve got a good idea what to expect. For those who can’t realistically sit still on a beach for more than five minutes, that dense rainforest is just crying out to be explored.